Although the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant is out of the news, it is by no means over. As Fukushima authorities drip-feed belated information on a series of mistakes and radioactive leaks at the plant, the press are reporting that this disaster is now set to affect people well beyond Japan.
There have been a series of accidents since the tsunami that made the headlines in March 2012. During the past month, operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) discovered that 300 tons of highly radioactive water has leaked from a holding tank into the ground. The plant has 1,000 such storage tanks, and there is now concern about the other ones not holding out either.
This comes on top of TEPCO’s admission last month that an estimated 300 tons of radioactive groundwater has been leaking into the Pacific Ocean every day. Unsurprisingly, international confidence in TEPCO’s ability to deal with the Fukushima threat has now fallen to an all time low. It was as late as last month that they admitted the daily leakage of radioactive groundwater into the Pacific Ocean, but this is a problem long suspected by outside scientists.
Dr. Janette Sherman, a Virginia-based physician specialising in radioactive and toxic exposure has raised the prospect of the radiation’s as-yet unknown effects on fish and other marine life in the Pacific, which will have implications far beyond Japan. It has already been suggested that a radioactive flow is en route to Western America and Canada via the sea currents.
There is now international concern about what will happen if other tanks fail, and the continuing reluctance of the Japanese authorities to tell the full story about what is really happening at Fukushima. For the rest of us one thing is certain – we will be hearing about this again and it won’t be good news.